Sep 23, 2011 0 Share

The Decision not to Drive


Man's hand on steering wheel from inside of car in traffic.
iStockphoto

In my previous column, I mentioned that I do not drive because I do not trust my hand-eye coordination. Even though I am old enough to try to obtain a driver’s license, my fear of my lack of skills prevents me from attempting to do so. My decision has affected my life in negative and positive ways, some of which I have never really thought about until now.

As I stated above, one of the primary reasons I have chosen not to drive is because I do not trust my own hand-eye coordination. For all of my life, I have had issues with learning to control my fine motor skills, and they still affect my daily routine. I need to be careful about the way I carry bags and heavy packages up and down stairs so I do not spill anything. Eating a meal becomes a delicate exercise in slowly moving the food from my plate to my mouth, because I am almost certain to drop it on the floor. If I were to begin driving, I am certain that I would be swerving all over the road because I would not be able to maintain firm control of the steering wheel.

Another reason I have decided not to drive at the present time is because I have problems taking in everything around me and staying focused on the road all at the same time. On a recent family trip, I conducted an experiment to see if I would be able to view the road through a driver’s eyes. My mother told me that a good driver is able to take in everything they see all while keeping their eyes on the road. I do not possess this skill; instead, I tend to focus on one particular area, shifting my attention from one object to another. I need to work on shifting my focus in order to learn how to take everything in at one time.

Assuming the driver’s position in the car would also deprive me from maintaining my personal comfort zone in the backseat. Ever since I was a young boy, I have felt most comfortable in the backseat of my family’s cars, and over time, I have developed certain traditions which make family trips and errands more bearable for me. I rarely go on a trip without taking a good book along with me to pass the time. I tend to alternate between reading the book and taking short naps while the soft hum of the car passing along the road lulls me into a calm bliss. I am afraid that if I start driving, I will begin to lose this comfort zone.

My not pursuing a driver’s license also affects my ability to be free to come and go as others my age do. Because I do not have the right to drive on my own yet, I depend on others to take me where I want to go. If I want to go to one of my favorite places such as the bookstore, I travel in the cars of people I trust who know how to drive; this position is often filled by my parents but can also include relatives and friends. This greatly restricts my movements, but I do not see this as a negative aspect at all. In fact, I accept it as a necessary limitation and think very little of it whenever I am out on an errand or trip. 

On a positive note, I do not have to endanger myself or others with my untested driving skills just yet. In addition to ensuring my personal safety, any passengers I have, and any other oncoming drivers, my choice also allows me to maintain my comfort zone in the backseat. 

I also do not want the added anxiety at this point in my life, and between writing columns and completing college, I feel that learning how to drive a car would add too many pressing concerns and take too much time out of my schedule.

I consider driving a car to be one of the most dangerous responsibilities of adulthood. I do believe that at some point on the road ahead, I will have to take up the challenge of driving a car, but right now, I want to spend a little more time at the rest stop.